Re: Of Ghosts and Bathwater @ FrankAlphaXII
In this context, there is no such thing as truth, merely observed behaviours, and these are conditioned by your perspective. I don't regard you as a heretic, more like a hardened Windows user who dabbles with Linux and believes that they know how all Linux advocates think.
Even though you state that you use Fedora and KDE, yours is a very coloured view of Linux, and IMHO is out of date. If you install Fedora yourself, you will know that it is easy, and, by contrast, Windows (from scratch) is difficult. Windows drivers are hell, especially if you don't have all those shiny round driver disks that you end up needing. Much of modern Linux distributions running on modern systems works out-of-the-box.
Please examine 'ordinary' users for a while. I think that you will find that they will be running a browser, and possibly an email client. They will launch applications that would run just as well on top of any modern OS if they are available. That's about it. There is very little that most of them do (outside of the vendor application lock in) which could not be done on any modern OS (and the adoption of iOS on iPads demonstrates this).
For a majority of users, the Gnome or KDE interface (or even Unity) is all they need to launch their browser, play their media etc. It's point, select and click, and that is all they need. I admit that to get the maximum out of Linux, it may sometimes (but very rarely) be necessary to resort to a shell, but then you need to jump into the registry in Windows once in a while as well. The only thing that Windows users benefit from in Windows is familiarity, and Win8 may break this.
I mentioned the vendor application lock in. This is the real crux of the matter. If you exchange information with someone else, then the fact that MS Office is so prevalent will mean that there will be problems. And when purchasing media, it's Apple who are not interested in making an iTunes client for Linux. Same for Sky, Netflix, LoveFilm etc. It's not a Linux fault, nor should it be the communities responsibility to make up for the fact that vendors (who often have irons in the OS fire) or strict DRM requirements that will always be difficult to handle in OpenSource software, are not prepared to work in the Linux space.
But this is not a Linux problem, it's that Microsoft and other vendors have been allowed to dominate areas of the application landscape.
In the reality that I see, there is no technical reason why users cannot be trained to use any UI. There are commercial reasons, but that is not what you claim.